Labour lead Conservatives by 20 points in first Ipsos voting intention poll of the General Election campaign

Highest number think Labour ready for government since late 2022 (47%)

The author(s)
  • Gideon Skinner UK Head of Political Research
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs
  • Laura King Public Affairs
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  • Labour on 43% and Conservatives 23%
  • Highest number think Labour ready for government since late 2022 (47%)

The latest Ipsos Political Monitor, taken 31st May to 4th June 2024, asks the public who they will vote for at the upcoming General Election, as well as their attitudes to the party leaders, government, economy and issues deciding their vote. The poll also asks if the Conservative government deserves to be re-elected and if Labour is ready for government.

Voting intention 
In the first Ipsos voting intention poll of the General Election campaign Labour holds a 20 point lead over the Conservatives.

  • Conservative 23% 
  • Labour 43% 
  • Liberal Democrat 8% 
  • Greens 9% 
  • Reform UK 9%

53% say they have definitely decided how to vote. 45% say they may change their mind by polling day.  In November 2019 this stood at 40%, before falling to 23% in the days before that General Election.

  • Among those who may change their mind, 11% are considering switching to the Conservatives, 13% Labour and 21% the Lib Dems.
  • 50% say it is very important to them who wins the next General Election. Lower than the 64% who said the same in November 2019, but on a par with the figure in May 2017.

Attitudes towards the government and party leaders

  • 83% are dissatisfied with the way the government is running the country (+2).
  • 20% are satisfied with the job Rishi Sunak is doing as Prime Minister (+3 from May). 73% are dissatisfied (+1). His position has improved with 2019 Conservatives, up 9ppts to 41% satisfied, and among current Conservative supporters  (+12 to 60%).
  • 31% are satisfied with the job Keir Starmer is doing (-1 from May), 52% dissatisfied (+2).
  • Starmer is considered the more capable Prime Minister over Sunak by a margin of 46% to 22%.  Last month he led by 44% to 22%. 
  • However, half say they don’t know what Keir Starmer stands for (49%, -1 since February). 32% disagree (+2). For Rishi Sunak, 41% say they don’t know what he stands for (-5 from February), 38% disagree (+2).

Leader image
Keir Starmer leads Rishi Sunak on a range of leader image attributes such as being a capable leader (34% to 21%), having sound judgement (31% to 21%) and understanding the problems facing Britain (48% to 23%). 75% consider Rishi Sunak out of touch – for Starmer that figure is 40%.  Neither however is seen as having a lot of personality – only one in five think they do.

Leader-Image

Key issues and economic optimism 

  • The NHS is the number one issue impacting people’s vote. 35% say this is very important, followed by immigration (21%), the economy (20%) and cost of living (20%).
  • Economic optimism has slipped slightly from May. 28% think it will improve in the next 12 months (-5), 26% say it will stay the same (+1) and 37% get worse (nc). This means the Ipsos net Economic Optimism Index now stands at -9 rather than -4 last month. However, this is still much better than April when it was -31.

What are people voting on?

  • The Ipsos Political Triangle ask voters to choose which of leaders, the parties, or policies most attracted someone to a party – we’ve been asking it at each election since 1987.  Survey participants are given 10 points to share between the 3 according to their relative importance.
  • This year sees the lowest figure given to the importance of leaders ahead of all the elections going back to 1987.  Leaders are given a mean score of 2.2 out of 10 for their relative importance, down from a mean of 2.7 in 2019 (and even lower than the previous mean of 2.6 in 2015).  
  • Policies remain the most important, with a mean of 4.1, and the importance of party identity seems to have increased, up from 2.7 in 2019 to 3.7 now.

Do the Conservatives deserve to be re-elected / Is Labour ready for government?

  • Almost half (47%) say Labour is ready for government, up 8 points since May and their best score since the end of 2022. 34% disagree (-3).
  • Meanwhile 67% do not think the Conservatives deserve to be re-elected (+1), only 20% think they do (though this is +6 since May).

Gideon Skinner, Senior Director of UK Politics at Ipsos, said:

The fundamentals in public opinion are still shoring up Labour’s strong lead as the 2024 election campaign starts in earnest. Concern about health care, the economy, cost of living and immigration are voters’ top issues, in head-to-heads Keir Starmer has a clear lead over Rishi Sunak on key leader attributes, and no Prime Minister or government has started an election campaign with worse satisfaction ratings since Ipsos started measuring public opinion just before Margaret Thatcher’s first election victory.  This means the public are increasingly open to the prospect of a Labour government.
However the public’s choice this time seems to be less driven by the leaders themselves than in previous elections, with neither seen as having much personality, and Keir Starmer still needing to tell a story to voters over what he stands for.

Technical Note: 

  • Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 1,014 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone between the 31st May – 4th June 2024. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. 
  • With the start of the election campaign, we have updated our weighting targets to use the most up-to-date reliable figures. This has minimal impact to our headline voting intention figures, well within the margin of error, adding 1.4% to the Conservative vote share and reducing the Green Party’s by 1.2%. All other changes are less than one percentage point.
The author(s)
  • Gideon Skinner UK Head of Political Research
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs
  • Laura King Public Affairs

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